Sunday, January 22, 2012

That's just how it's always been done...

     I wish I could be one of "those" people who can settle for second best... substandard work... or following the rest of the lemmings off the cliff and into the sea.  One of those people who just mindlessly shows up for work, does just enough to get by, and is happy with the paycheck every two weeks.

     Really.  Seriously.  Honestly.

     I would like to be one of those people who doesn't question the system when it doesn't make sense.  Who can just nod with the rest of the bobble heads and say... "but that's how it has always been done."

     Two lifetimes ago I was working for a government contractor who will remain nameless, but we will refer to as "LM."  I was a lowly administrative assistant (aka peon ~ or rather peed on).  One of my duties was reconciling the travel vouchers for the mechanics who spent every other six months at our site in California, from their "homes" in Texas.  LM paid these guys a pretty healthy per diem when they were in California.  Rent, utilities, food allowance, mileage... it was pretty cushy considering they were passing those charges on to the government... (aka you the taxpayer).  When I questioned why one of the guys was charging $500+ for mileage to "drive" his car from Texas to California when his travel receipts showed that he had rented a UHaul truck and tow bar to haul his car... I was told "but that's how he has always done it."  When I questioned why we were paying another guy's $1500 a month "rent" ($750 mortgage and $750 into his pocket) and all utilities for a house that he owned, when it was clearly stated on the "lease agreement" that he was the owner... and renter... I was told "but that's how he has always done it."

     Yes, maybe so... but that doesn't make it right.  And right or wrong, my curiousity at that time got me "promoted" to another job that didn't have that responsibility... and nothing was ever done to follow up on my questions.

     Jump forward twenty years.  I'm not a government contractor anymore... I'm a government employee.  And nothing has changed.  In a time where the government is struggling to balance a budget and claims to fight against fraud, waste, and abuse...  there is still that "but that's how it has always been done" mindset.  There are no checks and balances for a system that is broken and no one wants to be the one who stands up and says "wait just a minute, this doesn't make sense."

     I've tried.  And for that, I've been punished.  They say there are laws against retaliation... laws to protect whistle blowers... but really, they are just empty words on paper.

     We are supposed to be a country founded on fundamental truths... justice... and what some have called "the American way."  I just can't believe that our founding fathers had this in mind.

     But that's just how it's always been done....  


  1. That happens here, too, and it's disheartening. It's one of the reasons why my husband went into business for himself, and at this point we're still small enough to keep an eye on that sort of thing.

    1. I wish so much I could find a way to work for myself. If I could just get my books to sell more, or find a way to have my blogs become more financially supportive...